Communication is a fundamental part of everyday life. From work emails to text messages to opinions on social media - communication makes up a large part of our day. And since there is so much that depends on your communication, effective messaging dispersal can greatly improve your productivity and give better results. So how do you ensure that your communication is as effective as possible? If only there were a formula for that.
 
Business and science are not all that different. Like scientists, businessmen and marketers too face information overload. It is one thing to read from a slide, but oral or impromptu presentations are another ball game altogether. How many times have you stuttered your way to the end of a meeting? You can have the greatest idea and the strongest point in the room, but without effective communication, none of that matters.
 
One sure way of improving your communication is by mastering the 7C’s of communication. These apply to both written and oral communication and practically guarantee improved results.
 
This involves checking your communication process against 7 key factors which can be categorised as-
  1. Clear
  2. Correct
  3. Complete
  4. Concise
  5. Concrete
  6. Considerate
  7. Courteous
 
Let’s look at each of these C’s in detail and see the difference they make through examples.
 

1. Clarity In Communication

Assumptions are the worst thing for any communication. If the recipient has to assume or guess what you mean, it will result in miscommunication. This will lead to either a wrong action being carried out or time being wasted over clarifications.
 
Clarity is best achieved through short, simple, fluent sentences or paragraphs. Each part of your message construct should convey one clear message or thought. Don’t try to say too many things in one sentence, otherwise, it could muddle your main message. Too much information is also hard for others to register in one go. Make sure you are clear in your head about what you want to convey as your message. Once that is done, keep your main objective in mind while you write or speak your message.
 
Consider for example, that you receive an email that says ‘The project yesterday was bad. I will need more help from you.’ This message gives no indication or background information on what has happened or exactly what is expected. It leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation. Instead, try a message like this:
 
"This is to inform you that the meeting yesterday regarding client expectations did not go as expected. There is some new information that you should be aware of. Let me know a time when we can discuss further."
 
 

2. Correctness In Communication

Correctness refers to both factual and linguistic accuracy. All the information you share needs to be credible, backed by data, and grammatically sound. When you give information, simply making a statement may not seem credible or believable enough. However, when you back that up with credible sources or facts, it makes it easier to accept.
 
Correctness also has to do with semantic barriers. Make sure you use language and terms that can be easily understood by your audience. Also, ensure you do a spellcheck and a fact-check before sharing any information. Every person you communicate with is receiving large amounts of information on a daily basis. Incorrect information might register the wrong message with them, or might simply not register at all.
 
One mistake that several people commonly make is in how they address others. Make sure you address people the right way and ensure they have sufficient knowledge to understand your message. If they don’t modify your message in a way that will help them understand better. At the end of the day, your goal is not writing out the most beautiful message. Your goal is to ensure people understand you.
 

3. Completeness In Communication

One thing that people miss out in communication is that it is a two-way street. A complete message has all the information, facts and context that the recipient would need, which includes a call to action. It must convey the urgency of the task, all the parties and stakeholders involved, and the next step for the recipient to take in order to move the conversation forward. Your message must contain the exact information that the other person needs so that there is no room for assumptions and misunderstanding.
 
You wouldn’t, for example, walk into a room and just declare that everyone should follow you to the conference hall. People normally prioritise tasks in their heads and as soon as new tasks come up, they calculate which task is more important and urgent and prioritise that over the others. So, you need to give them enough information to make that decision and prioritise your task over the one they are currently doing. So the right way to deliver your message would be to set the context, state the problem at hand and the time you have to execute it, followed by the call to action.
 

4. Conciseness In Communication

A longer message is not necessarily a better message. As the world is now used to social media and shorter forms of communication, they won’t normally read a message that is longer than it needs to be. Keep your message concise, to the point and brief. This way, you avoid wasting your time and that of the person receiving the message.
 
One thing you should eliminate from all your communications going forward is any form of filler phrases and words. Filler phrases include ‘I mean’, ‘sort of’, ‘really’, ‘basically’ and other phrases that are used to accentuate sentences. While they might sound like they are helping you be clearer in your communication, what they end up doing is they undercut your tone and reduce the impact of your message. Filler phrases can also be identified at the start of sentences, in words like ‘in fact’ and ‘for instance’.
 
Another thing to check for is that you don’t repeat the same point through your conversation. Keeping your message concise and giving accurate, crisp information will be more impactful and get better results.
 
 

5. Concreteness In Communication

A concrete message is like a factsheet of words. It should be something you are very clearly able to picture in your mind. You must believe your own message and form a mental image of it before you can convey it to anyone else. You also need to ensure that your audience can visualise your message so that they understand it better.
 
A concrete message includes facts and vivid graphic details without having uselessly elaborate details. This ensures your message is solid, without any gaps or scope of error. Concreteness in communication is something that advertising and marketing campaigns require very extensively. The passion points and psychological triggers they play to, need to be able to pull in the customer or audience, not push them away or bore them.
 
To make your message more concrete, throw in some graphic adjectives and make sure your CTA captures exactly how you want your audience to feel. For example, saying the Taj Hotel is nice might give the message. However, saying that the Taj Hotel in Delhi is ‘an architectural marvel that punctuates the city’s bustle’ gives a robust sense of the grandness of the hotel.
 

6. Coherence In Communication

Syntax and flow are important parts of a well-formed message. Make sure all the information is grammatically correct and that all the facts flow into each other. Without coherence, the reader will quickly lose interest or not fully grasp the message that you are trying to give.
 
Business heads and working professionals can process huge amounts of information at a time. However, they also get tired and lose focus depending on other factors, which is why you need to ensure that your message in itself is not difficult to follow. Different ways in which you can improve readability is by breaking down your text into paragraphs, using bullet points and lists, making tables and highlighting key points.
 
The body of your message needs to be coherent too. Information needs to be presented in a flow that is thought-through and easy to understand. First set the context, reveal the relevance of the communication. Follow it with the action that has taken place and conclude it with what the next steps are and what the expectations are from the recipient. This will make sure your communication is understood and that your message has the desired impact.
 

7. Courteousness In Communication

Being polite and courteous is one of the most important skills needed in a professional workplace. A courteous message is written from the point-of-view of the audience. It is open, friendly and honest, without any hidden meaning or message besides what your words say.
 
A courteous message helps you to maintain friendly relationships and also increases your social currency. Using hidden messages or insults in your communication might make the other person feel bad, but it reflects badly on you too. It makes you look petty and unprofessional. If you are a team leader sending a message to your team, lack of courtesy can greatly drop morale and confidence, and consequently, reduce your productivity.
 
Avoid using accusatory or judgmental tones in your message. ‘Your team never responds to my queries’ is a problem statement, sure, but it must be expressed courteously. A better way would be, ‘While I understand your team is busy, I too am on a deadline and would appreciate a prompt response.’ This message highlights the problem, offers a solution and does so without any aggression or anger.
 

The Perfect Combination

The perfect message is the right combination of all the 7C’s. A shorter message might not necessarily be courteous, and a correct message might not always be coherent. Make optimised use of all 7C’s in each piece of your communication.
 
Communication skills are key factors for both first impressions and daily interactions. A large part of every business organisation’s operations depends on communication skills. Once you’ve mastered the 7C’s, you are ready to lead any project and any team to success. But don’t wait to master them right away, start using them when you communicate anyway. Once you consciously observe the role that these 7C’s play every time you communicate with someone else, you will slowly realise how you can improve your skills. Keep practising, because that’s how good project managers become exceptional.
 
Armin Vans
Aarav Goel has top education industry knowledge with 4 years of experience. Being a passionate blogger also does blogging on the technology niche.

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